First upmarket commercial toilets in Ireland open

Updated / Sunday, 18 Jul 2021 06:42

'U-Luu' pods are premium public restrooms

By Teresa Mannion

The first upmarket, commercial toilets in the country have opened in Clifden, Co Galway.

The six posh public toilets are located in a converted retail unit on Courthouse Square in the centre of town.

It's pay as you go, but you’ll spend more than a penny!

In fact it will cost you €3.50 to go to the loo. But the man who has invested in these high end toilets says the price is right.

Entrepreneur John Nagle said that nothing compares to the service on offer.

John Nagle

Mr Nagle said: "The 'U-Luu’ pods are premium public-access restrooms. They are contactless, fully automated and overseen by nine full time staff from 9am to 7am seven days a week."

There are also two large showers and three make-up areas for people wanting to spend up to half an hour or more in the pods.

Users will be charged €15 to €20 for access to individual and family shower facilities.

Mr Nagle said his primary market was women as they were more inclined to stay longer and avail of the additional facilities on offer.

He said: "The truth is that many men are still not prepared to pay €3.50 for a widdle."

The restrooms are wheelchair accessible and parent and child friendly with breast feeding facilities.

Mother of two Nicola Flaherty said not everywhere in Clifden had child friendly facilities and said she was happy to pay the higher price for the service.

Nicola Clifden thinks the facilities are a welcome addition to the town

Mr Nagle said the new service offers clean, safe and comfortable restroom facilities and sets the standard for how towns and cities are likely to attract visitors to their towns.

On the streets of Clifden many business people welcomed the arrival of the pricey loos.

Gallery owner Gavin Lavelle said it was time for a change in the Irish mindset.

Mr Lavelle said: "Historically public loos have left a lot to be desired and this high end facility is the way forward.

"In France when you walk into a cafe you have to buy a coffee if you want to use the toilet. We pay for our bins, so why not have a service like this when the demand is there?"

Gavin Lavelle says that public toilets are important for the town

Matthew O'Connor, Irene Halpin and Linda McKenny also welcomed the new restrooms, using them to shower and freshen up after a day at the beach.

Matthew O'Connor, Irene Halpin and Linda McKenna

Councillor Eileen Mannion said the upmarket toilets were five star deluxe and an asset to a busy tourist town like Clifden.

However, she added that the council had toilet facilities in the town as well and it gives choice to those who do not want to pay a higher price for using luxurious restrooms.

However, not everybody was flush with excitement at the lovely loos.

Many young outdoor diners said they would not pay €3.50 to go the toilet, nor would they part with €15 for a shower.

A number of tourists who were camping out said they would prefer to avail of on site facilities.

Mr Nagle has earmarked at least eight other tourist spots around the country to roll out the pods if Clifden proves successful.

He said the long term plan is to introduce a yearly subscription of around €100 for people to avail of the restrooms and save money.

The first upmarket, fully commercial toilets in the country have opened in Clifden County Galway. The restroom pods have been welcomed by many as a necessary high-end facility, but others are critical of the €3.50 cost to use the toilet.

— RTÉ News (@rtenews) July 17, 2021